The City of Toronto launched a new program to make transit more affordable for low-income residents.
The Fair Pass Discount program, which starts April 4, 2018 will provide approximately 150,000 eligible residents who receive assistance through Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) with a 12-month discount on the regular Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) adult fare or adult monthly pass.
The discount will be programmed onto a PRESTO card, saving cardholders a third of the current fare, $1 on the adult fare for a single ride and $30.75 on the adult monthly pass. Cardholders must load funds onto their card to receive the discount.
Mayor John Tory made the announcement April 3 at the City’s Employment & Social Services Metro Hall location, joined by Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence), Chair of the TTC, and Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St. Paul’s), the City’s Poverty Reduction Advocate.
“It is important that everyone in Toronto has access to public transit. The Fair Fare Pass is the single biggest initiative in our Poverty Reduction Strategy to help low-income families and adults,” said Mayor Tory. “Transit connects people to jobs, to their cultural and economic hubs, and to families and friends. I am proud that the City of Toronto is pushing forward in its efforts to help provide opportunities to residents in our city.”
The Fair Pass Discount program was approved by City Council as a poverty reduction initiative to make transit more affordable for low-income residents. Making transit more affordable was one of the suggestions the City heard in its public consultations for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The City’s 2018 budget invested $4.6 million to implement the Fair Pass Discount program. Other initiatives include the Kids Ride Free program for children 12 and under, lower fares for students and seniors, and the implementation of a hop-on, hop-off two-hour transfer.
“The Fair Fare Pass is a great example of how we’re making transit more affordable for low-income residents,” said Councillor Colle. “Having a single ride fare and a monthly pass option means customers have the ability to travel on a fare that best suits their needs.”
“We have made great progress addressing recommendations in the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy regarding transit equity,” said Councillor Mihevc. “This new program will address the needs of working-age, low-income transit users who have previously not been able to receive any type of transit discount.”
The Fair Pass Discount program will be rolled out in three phases. Phase one starts tomorrow and will include OW and ODSP clients who do not receive transportation supports equal to or greater than $100. Subject to City Council approval, phase two and three will extend eligibility to residents receiving housing supports or child-care fee subsidies and other Toronto residents living with a household income under the Low-income Measure (LIM) plus 15 per cent.
Details about the Fair Pass Discount program, including how to apply, are available at http://www.toronto.ca/transitdiscountor at any OW or ODSP office.
— Don Peat